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Meet Keith Brown, the host of GAMEPLAY and learn more about the show

Keith Brown in studio
Keith Brown in studio

Beginning Saturday, July 3, 2021 at 11am and 7pm WXXI Classical will be adding a new show to our schedule called GamePlay with host Keith Brown.  Keith is a trained opera singer, a professional voiceover artist, and currently is the full time afternoon classical host and producer at Interlochen Public Radio (IPR). Keith also has ties to Rochester and calls it his second home.

I spoke with Keith about how the show came to be and the role video game music plays for composers living today. But first, he shared his thoughts on why video game music, like film music, does have a place on a classical public radio station.

Keith talks about how video game music fits on a classical station.

Early video game Pac-Man
Credit https://www.eurogamer.net/
Early video game Pac-Man

Keith and I traveled back in time to the early days of video game music when composers had to be programmers as much as composers, and had to be exceedingly creative to come up with sounds and tunes that would grab the listener within, the limitations of early video game hardware. He likens the progress of video game composition to that of the early compositions for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti, and later to the basic conventions and theory of classical composers.

It's a brief history of video game music.

Now that Keith has shared the evolution of video game composition, I asked Keith about the process of composing music for a specific game, and which comes first…the game or the music?

The process of composing video game music.

Koji Kondo
Credit https://twitter.com/
Koji Kondo

Listeners of WXXI Classical will know the names of many of the great composers, and perhaps even names of some film composers.  Right here in Rochester, both the Eastman School of Music and RIT have courses of study in film composition as well as composing for video games and interactive media.  I asked Keith if we might be hearing directly from and meeting any composers of video game music during episodes of GAMEPLAY.    

Meet some of the composers.

Gareth Coker (top) Nobuo Uematsu (mid) Hirokazu Hip Tanaka (bot) Jessica Curry (right)
Credit https://www.befunky.com/
Gareth Coker (top) Nobuo Uematsu (mid) Hirokazu Hip Tanaka (bot) Jessica Curry (right)

Keith and I also talked about the popularity of the 2004 Los Angeles Philharmonic concert that included music from the video game Final Fantasy, and the 2014 Rochester Philharmonic concert called Video Games Live.  So I asked Keith if he thought that video game music, like film music, might be heard more in concert halls as orchestras seek to introduce a younger demographic to symphonic music, and perhaps introduce traditional classical music lovers to a new, broader vision and definition of “classical” music?

The future of video game music in concert halls.

Watch this brief video of Jessica Curry's "Everybody's Gone to the Rapture" soundtrack.

To hear more from Keith about his own video game habit, and his favorite video game, listen to the full, unedited inverview below.

Listen to the full, unedited interview.